acute periradicular or acute apical abscess–An inflammatory reaction to pulpal infection and necrosis characterized by rapid onset, spontaneous pain, tenderness of the tooth to pressure, pus formation and eventual swelling of associated tissues. May also be known as acute periapical abscess, acute alveolar abscess, dentoalveolar abscess, phoenix abscess, recrudescent abscess, secondary apical abscess.
chronic periradicular or chronic periapical abscess–An inflammatory reaction to pulpal infection and necrosis characterized by gradual onset, little or no discomfort and the intermittent discharge of pus through an associated sinus tract. May also be known as chronic alveolar abscess, chronic apical abscess, chronic dentoalveolar abscess, suppurative apical periodontitis, suppurative periradiucular periodontitis.
abutment: A tooth or implant fixture used as a support for a prosthesis.
accession: Addition of a test specimen, previously collected by a health care provider, to a laboratory specimen collection; recording of essential specimen identification data in a laboratory-maintained file in chronological order of laboratory specimen acquisition; assignment to the specimen of an identification code.
acid etching: Use of an acidic chemical substance to prepare the tooth enamel and or dentin surface to provide retention for bonding.
adhesion: State in which two surfaces are held together by chemical or physical forces or both with or without the aid of an adhesive. Adhesion is one aspect of bonding.
adhesive: Any substance that joins or creates close adherence of two or more surfaces. Intermediate material that causes two materials to adhere to each other.
adjunctive: A secondary treatment in addition to the primary therapy.
administrative costs: Overhead expenses incurred in the operation of a dental benefit program, exclusive of costs of dental services provided.
administrative services only (ASO): An arrangement under which a third party, for a fee, processes claims and handles paperwork for a self-funded group. This frequently includes all insurance company services (actuarial services, underwriting, benefit description, etc.) except assumption of risk.
adult dentition: The permanent teeth of adulthood that either replace the primary dentition or erupt distally to the primary molars.
adverse selection. A statistical condition within a group when there is a greater demand for dental services and/or more services necessary than the average expected for that group.
allogenic: Belonging to the same species, but genetically different. See graft.
alloplastic: Refers to synthetic material often used for tissue augmentation or replacement.
allowable charge: The maximum dollar amount on which benefit payment is based for each dental procedure as calculated by the third-party payer.
alloy: Compound combining two or more elements having properties not existing in any of the single constituent elements. Sometimes used to refer to amalgam.
alternate benefit: A provision in a dental plan contract that allows the third-party payer to determine the benefit based on an alternative procedure that is generally less expensive than the one provided or proposed.
alternative benefit plan: A plan, other than a traditional (fee-for-service, freedom-of-choice) indemnity or service corporation plan, for reimbursing a participating dentist for providing treatment to an enrolled patient population.
alternative delivery system: An arrangement for the provision of dental services in other than the traditional way (e.g., licensed dentist providing treatment in a fee-for-service dental office).
alveolar: Referring to the bone to which a tooth is attached.
alveoloplasty: Surgical procedure for recontouring supporting bone, sometimes in preparation for a prosthesis.
analgesia: See definition under anesthesia.
ancillary: Subordinate or auxiliary to something or someone else; supplementary.
anesthesia: A patient’s level of consciousness is determined by the provider and not the route of administration of anesthesia. State dental boards regulate the use of anesthesia techniques. The ADA House of Delegates adopted and has published anesthesia policy and guidelines, which are available online.
- Policy Statement: The Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists (PDF)
- Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists(PDF)
- Guidelines for teaching Pain Control and Sedation to Dentists and Dental Students (PDF)
Select definitions from the policy and guidelines follow. Please refer to the cited sources for complete and current information.
Methods of Anxiety and Pain Control
analgesia–the diminution or elimination of pain.
deep sedation–a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients cannot be easily aroused but respond purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function may be impaired. Patients may require assistance in maintaining a patent airway, and spontaneous ventilation may be inadequate. Cardiovascular function is usually maintained.
general anesthesia–a drug-induced loss of consciousness during which patients are not arousable, even by painful stimulation. The ability to independently maintain ventilatory function is often impaired. Patients often require assistance in maintaining a patent airway, and positive pressure ventilation may be required because of depressed spontaneous ventilation or drug-induced depression of neuromuscular function. Cardiovascular function may be impaired.
local anesthesia–the elimination of sensation, especially pain, in one part of the body by the topical application or regional injection of a drug.
minimal sedation–a minimally depressed level of consciousness, produced by a pharmacological method, that retains the patient’s ability to independently and continuously maintain an airway and respond normally to tactile stimulation and verbal command. Although cognitive function and coordination may be modestly impaired, ventilatory and cardiovascular functions are unaffected.
moderate sedation–a drug-induced depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation. No interventions are required to maintain a patent airway, and spontaneous ventilation is adequate. Cardiovascular function is usually maintained.
Routes of Administration
enteral–any technique of administration in which the agent is absorbed through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or oral mucosa (i.e., oral, rectal, sublingual).
inhalation–a technique of administration in which a gaseous or volatile agent is introduced into the lungs and whose primary effect is due to absorption through the gas/blood interface.
parenteral–a technique of administration in which the drug bypasses the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (i.e., intramuscular [IM], intravenous [IV], intranasal [IN], submucosal [SM], subcutaneous [SC], intraosseous [IO].)
transdermal–a technique of administration in which the drug is administered by patch or iontophoresis through skin.
transmucosal – a technique of administration in which the drug is administered across mucosa such as intranasal, sublingual or rectal.
anomaly: deviation from the normal anatomic structure, growth, development or function; an abnormality.
ANSI/ADA/ISO: Acronyms for organizations that administer or develop national and international standards. ANSI (American National Standards Institute) is the national organization established for the purpose of accrediting and coordinating product standards development activities in the United States. It is not a US government agency. The ADA (American Dental Association) is a national standards development organization accredited by ANSI. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies. The results of ISO technical work are published as International Standards. Efforts in the United States directed toward the development of ISO standards are channeled through ANSI.
ANSI/ADA/ISO Tooth Numbering System: See Specification No. 3950.
anterior: Mandibular and maxillary centrals, laterals and cuspids. The designation of permanent anterior teeth in the Universal/National tooth numbering system include teeth 6 through 11 (maxillary), and 22 through 27 (mandibular); primary teeth in the Universal/National tooth numbering system are designated C through H (maxillary), and M through R (mandibular). Also refers to the teeth and tissues located towards the front of the mouth.
anxiolysis: The diminution or elimination of anxiety.
any willing provider: Legislation that requires managed care organizations (MCOs), such as health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and preferred provider organizations (PPOs) to contract with any providers who are willing to meet the terms of the contract.
apex: The tip or end of the root end of the tooth.
apexification: The process of induced root development to encourage the formation of a calcified barrier in a tooth with immature root formation or an open apex. May involve the placement of an artificial apical barrier prior to nonsurgical endodontic obturation.
apexogenesis: Vital pulp therapy performed to encourage continued physiological formation and development of the tooth root.
apicoectomy: Amputation of the apex of a tooth.
appeal: A formal request that an insurer review denied or unpaid claims for services or supplies provided. An appeal can be filed by a healthcare provider or a patient in an attempt to recover reimbursement from a third-party payer such as a private insurance company.
arch, dental: The curved composite structure of the natural dentition and the residual ridge, or the remains thereof, after the loss of some or all of the natural teeth.
areas of oral cavity: A two digit numeric system used to report regions of the oral cavity to third party payers.
00 entire oral cavity
01 maxillary arch
02 mandibular arch
10 upper right quadrant
20 upper left quadrant
30 lower left quadrant
40 lower right quadrant
arthrogram: A diagnostic X-ray technique used to view bone structures following injection of a contrast medium into a joint.
artificial crown: Restoration covering or replacing the major part, or the whole of the clinical crown of a tooth, or implant.
assignment of benefits: A procedure whereby a beneficiary/patient authorizes the administrator of the program to forward payment for a covered procedure directly to the treating dentist.
attending dentist’s statement: An obsolete term for the ADA Dental Claim Form. See claim form.
autogenous: See graft.
avulsion: Separation of tooth from its socket due to trauma. See evulsion.